Last weekend as I wandered through Amsterdam, I came across (quite randomly) a funfair in Dam Square. It was such a bizarre and wonderful sight considering the upcoming reading week and end of exams, that me and my friends practically ran to the ferris wheel, the candyfloss stand, and the haunted house. There is something about the funfair coming to town that brings with it a pinch of magic. A familiar space is suddenly a blaze of colourful lights and excited squeals, sticky faces and muddy shoes. No matter where in the world I’ve travelled to, this sight remains a welcome one because it brings with it home.
When I say home, I don’t mean in the literal sense of the word. The brick and mortar which makes up the foundation of my childhood home cannot be uprooted and shipped for less than the full sum of a lottery win. What I mean when I say the fair brings with it home, is that it takes me back to the memories from when I was smaller – small enough to be bundled up into my ‘big’ coat (the ugliest but warmest one in the downstairs closet) and guided by the hand to a place where there was a promise of laughter. The first fair I ever went to was on bonfire night in the middle of a field, where I spent a happy hour trying to hook a duck so that I could win a teddy bear. Same said teddy bear ended up becoming my dogs chew toy for awhile, but even with a crooked bow tie and half of an ear missing Bertie bear is still a much valued member of our family.
The fair is usually a place I head to when the night has just set in, and the crispness of the cold is so present it can be breathed in with the wood smoke of the food stalls. You know you’re heading in the right direction if that is in reach; like a cartoon Patrick Star, you can follow it until you reach your destination. No matter how old I have grown or how serious the academia has become, life is never so serious that I cannot let my hair down and laugh awhile when a round of dodgems is involved. It can be such a great thing in that regard, because I don’t take myself as seriously as I perhaps should and everyone needs that once in a while don’t you think?
With my final exam before half term waiting just around the corner and my deadlines done and dusted, seeing that funfair was my oases. Whilst being a cactus is cool, it also means going awhile without a long cool sip of something refreshing. Being able to feed off of the bubbles of repetitive pop music, half heard sentences and the buzz of fairylights was just the thing that I needed to get through this last few days before it’s time to be homeward bound. The end is in sight and the funfair is never far away.